May 23rd, 2008
04:10 PM ET
14 years ago

Sources: Clinton, Obama supporters discussing exit strategies

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption=" "] (CNN) - Several close friends and supporters of Hillary Clinton tell CNN they are pushing for a "graceful exit strategy" that would allow the Clinton and Obama camps to come together, and for the New York senator to save face should she fail to become the Democratic nominee for president.

The discussions are not taking place between the campaigns, but rather among informal campaign advisers on both sides who are trying to actively influence and shape the debate as the competition nears a close June 3.

Bill Burton, national spokesman for front-runner Barack Obama's campaign, said "there are no talks underway between the campaigns," and that any suggestion from Clinton insiders is "unequivocally untrue."

"We are two campaigns, in real competition, not having any such talks about exit strategies," Burton said.

Obama campaign chief strategist David Axelrod said "there have been zero discussions, back channel or otherwise between the campaigns."

Clinton campaign aides also deny that any talks are taking place between the campaigns, emphasizing that the contest is not yet over. Clinton herself said the report was "flatly untrue" during a meeting with the editorial board of a South Dakota paper Friday.

But some Clinton camp insiders and close friends are actively floating three scenarios which they believe will influence whether or how the two teams merge.

Full story

soundoff (1,165 Responses)
  1. taylor richmond virginia

    In the end, when the dust clears from all this seemingly crazinness......this could actually help Obama in fall. He has been vetted, Hillary has, by herself saved her terribly run campaign, etc etc.
    If everyone is on the same page when this is over and focused on winning the White House in the fall, then the Democrats will be stronger for it

    May 23, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  2. Allyn J. Chevalier - Lynnwood, WA

    Get rid of Hillary, call her bluff. No VP, no graceful exit, no debt repayment, etc. Democrats have to make up their mind. If no Hillary, do you really want Bush II as revenge (how will that help anybody?) I suspect that McCain is a lot weaker opponent, that anyone is really considering. For Obama's philosphy to work, he needs his own selections. A woman on the ticket......... OK, the governor of Kansas. Obama would best served utilizing the talents of Biden, Dodd, Edwards, Webb, etc, and NOT concentrating on Hillary. I really think that McCain will shoot himself in the foot. If Hillary wants a postive legacy, support the nominee, and don't be so self-centered. Had she bever been married to Bill, no one would have given her the time of day. The day of the Clintons are over. "The King is dead, long live the King.

    May 23, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  3. NoMcSame

    She is broke with no hope. She got to the Sen. because of Bill. She moved to NY and ran for Sen. and won. Name me one other person that has done such a thing. It was Bill Clintons name that won it for her not what she has done over the years.
    Obama is going to be PRESIDENT and I hope that he will pick the female gov. that has been with him all along for VP. We will not sit back and allow Clinton to hijack this race. She may have a place but it will not be VP I hope, after all she said Obama just gave a SPEECH remember so why would she want to work under him anyway?
    Hillary NEVER

    May 23, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  4. Mary Ann

    Exit now, happy or not, just exit.

    May 23, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  5. Ray in MN

    If Obama doesnt offer her the VP slot, he is stupid and not the uniter he claims to be. I am a Hillary supporter and I would vote for McCain if he didnt offer the VP slot to her. If she was the nominee, she would offer it to him! How about practicing what you preach, Mr. Obama, and offer it to her and reconcile! GET OVER YOURSELF and do the right thing.

    May 23, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  6. Ed, Santa Fe, NM

    "should she fail be become the nominee" ???

    Hillary is 20-30 MILLION DOLLARS in the hole
    Hillary has NO WAY to win the nomination
    Hillary loses super delegates almost daily
    Hillary fails to win major endorsements almost daily
    Obama is like 70 votes from the outright nomination.

    What don't these Hillary people get? Save face? What is THAT about?

    GET OVER IT AND QUIT so we can get on with the battle with McCain

    May 23, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  7. "The Great Elephant Is Wounded"-Kareem From Hampton, Va

    I said it 1st people! I told you Hillary should bow out and become Senate Majority Leader! That would be a 1st for a woman as well! I SAID IT 1st!!!! Can you imagine Obama white house and Hillary controlling Senate..we can change teh world people! Stop the in-fighting! Hillary's deafeat belongs to no one but her campaign managers!! Fl and Mi is a problem the Republicans created to do exactly whats its doing now! Its more to this thing than our selfish dedication that dont mean squat! Obama nor Clinton even know any of our names!! This is about the future! Lets pull together!

    May 23, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  8. robert

    Obama – PLEASE tell Clinton to stick it. There are several viable candidates to consider.

    May 23, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  9. Always Awaiting Moderation

    Yikes, the "Clintonistas" will try anything to get her somewhere else by the Senate. Polls out today suggest that Obama is comfortably ahead of McCain in a lot of big states. Why should Obama choose someone whose loyalty he's going to have to always questions with a husband who epitomizes the term "loose cannon".

    Far too many voters, not to mention Obama supporters, would see a Clinton V-P nomination shoved down there throats as "politics as usual". Why not vote for McCain, get the same thing without the decades long Clinton soap opera.

    Bottom line is dumb move and don't even consider it.

    May 23, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  10. wanbligi

    Why on earth would Obama offer to pay down some of HIllary's debt? Hillary is a big girl now and can take care of her own finances. What Obama needs right now is a good, strong VP who is more in line with how he sees the Presidency. Hillary just needs to grow up and get out of the race.

    Obama 08

    May 23, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  11. Beck

    Obama had better be careful; he's going to need Clinton back in the Senate as majority leader. When he's prez, he's an executive, not a legistator. Only Congress can put in place all the wonderful domestic policies he says wants. Hillary should not take the no. 2 spot on the ticket because he will do everything he can to push her aside. She's got way more on the ball than he does, and he knows it. She should return to the Senate where she'll have real muscle.

    May 23, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  12. Was Dem, Now Independent in Oregon

    Hillary would make a superb Secretary of State!

    That way she won't have to be seen training Obama in the Oval Office.

    May 23, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  13. Terri Wood

    No Obama, NOOOOOOOOO! Governor Kathleen Sebelius!!!!!

    May 23, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  14. bill

    NO to HRC as VP!!!

    May 23, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  15. Judy, South Carolina

    So who is fooling who right now. What we want to hear is that we have one party.

    May 23, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  16. tony, Mount Vernon, NY

    Where's the news here? These discussions and scenarios have been going on among supports since before Ohio and Texas. If it were possible, I think Clinton should file a lawsuit against CNN and the lot for this lopsided coverage.

    Where's some coverage on the popular vote and where it might stand after June 3rd? How can the so-called candidate of change be the nominee because he gets the support of politicians over the people? It's a sad day when Fox is the most unbiased source for news, but that's what's happening. For shame CNN!

    May 23, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  17. proud army and navy mom

    I like the third option, it is the lesser of the three evils. i entertained the idea of old girl being vp, but i throw up everytime i think of bill being anywhere near the white house.

    i can almost stand her in the Senate, just don't let her make any more speeches. deal?

    May 23, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  18. Anonymous

    Clinton is a professional devider. She even managed to devide her supporters. Clintons all them would do the country a be favor fi they would just go away

    May 23, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  19. Oh! The Irony

    Last I checked, the nominee also wins the right to select his or her VP. As conniving and nasty as Sen. Clinton has been in this campaign, I would hope Sen. Obama selects someone other than her for VP.

    May 23, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  20. Jane

    We're done! Clinton is detrimental as VP. We need someone like Jim Webb: military background, deep resume, well-respected leader, honest.

    May 23, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  21. any

    I think Obama should pick Clinton as his running mate. Just to solidfy the democratic party and ensure victory in November.

    May 23, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  22. John

    Though it may have sounded like a good matchup six months ago, I think Hillary has already rocked the boat enough to make Obama supporters weary of her.

    May 23, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  23. Big D

    Obama – Please Please Please – DO NOT pick Hillary as your VP. You don't need her baggage to drag you down. There are so many fabulous and qualified people out there. Please do not pick Hillary just to get her out of the primary or to satisfy her supporters. It's not worth if for the negatives she'd bring wih to the GE and it's not worth it for all the trouble she'd bring you during your presidency.
    Do Not Pick Hillary!
    O '08

    May 23, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  24. kay, NM

    I don't think she will accept number two slot. Even though so called fired up voted may not like it, she believes strongly that Obama can not win in November. She sees the fact behind Obama's primary win– right on the money. I agree with her. Even though I'll not vote for her.

    May 23, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  25. KP, FL

    Clinton will not strong-arm the Obama campaign into giving her the Veep spot. Besides, didn't she criticize him for talking to his enemies without pre-conditions. Well, here is the pre-condition, she must pledge not to seek the veep spot, not to steal our (yes our) general election funds to pay off her tremendous debt, not to campaign in an "aloof manner. But we all know we can't really trust our enemies. Sorry, Hillary, we've got no words for you.

    May 23, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
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